ACLU Maine: “Cameras In Dispensaries Viloate State Ban On Facial Recognition Surveillance”

The ACLU of Maine says state regulators should eliminate a requirement that multiple video cameras be placed inside and outside adult-use cannabis businesses, arguing that doing so violates Maine’s ban on facial recognition surveillance.

The Maine Press Herald reports

The requirement, which appears in a set of draft rules for the regulatory framework of the state’s adult-use or recreational marijuana program, “would needlessly expose customers and workers in the cannabis industry to privacy-violating tracking and data collection,” the ACLU said in a letter to the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy this week.

But the Office of Cannabis Policy, which is part of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, says the draft rules simply update existing video surveillance requirements for cannabis businesses to cover newly approved cannabis delivery.

“This requirement is not, and has never been, a facial recognition requirement,” said Sharon Huntley, a spokesperson for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services.

“It is an extension of existing retail sales camera requirements – the same requirements that have been extended to the authorized activity of delivery, which was already approved by the Legislature,” Huntley said.

The rule-making is in progress and the Office of Cannabis Policy will make comments, offer responses and make new regulations soon, Huntley said.

The ACLU says the surveillance requirement violates Maine state law because cannabis retailers have to record and store video of shoppers’ faces and turn that data over to public officials.

Maine passed a law last year that shields people in the state from government facial recognition software, said Michael Kebede, policy counsel for ACLU of Maine.

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ACLU says pot store camera requirements violate Maine’s ban on facial surveillance

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